GT Real Estate Holdings, the billionaire owner of the David Tepper company created for the Carolina Panthers Rock Hill headquarters project, owes nearly $50 million to various entities involved in the work, according to bankruptcy papers filed in Delaware Wednesday night.
Its two main creditors are Mascaro and Barton Malow, the general construction contractors in charge of the site, and York County, South Carolina, which together owe nearly $48 million. The other companies listed in the filing owe much lower amounts.
In response, GTRE filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late Wednesday night.
“In recent weeks, GTRE has faced a variety of claims, some valid and some not, from suppliers, contractors and other third parties, including York County, SC,” the company said. in a press release. “GTRE is taking this action to ensure that legitimate claims are dealt with as fairly and expeditiously as possible through a court-supervised process, and to bring about the orderly and safe end of the project. GTRE intends to resolve its legitimate obligations.
GTRE owes 17 companies that played a role in the project nearly $50 million in total. Of that $50 million, general contractors owe $26.8 million; York County, $21 million, according to the filing.
Officials from the two construction companies did not respond to emails from The Charlotte Observer on Thursday seeking comment.
York County’s claim is for road project money it contributed to the project to widen a major road leading to the Panthers site.
“We believe these funds will be fully repaid with interest and the ratepayers of the county are protected,” York County said in a news release Thursday. “We were prepared for this action and fully expect a positive outcome for our citizens.”
Chapter 11 and Bankruptcy
Charlotte bankruptcy attorney Andy Houston said a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is often an attempt to bring order to what can be a chaotic and adversarial process.
“It’s an effective and efficient way to solve complex legal problems,” he said. “Filing for bankruptcy ends all litigation and funnels everything into one forum, the bankruptcy court.”
The three main creditors in GT Real Estate’s bankruptcy filing have combined claims of more than $48 million. All of these claims are listed as “disputed”. That means creditors will have to file proof of what they are owed with the court, Houston says.
Tepper’s company can dispute the amounts. Even so, Houston says, bankruptcy court offers a much more streamlined process for administering assets and resolving disputed liabilities than, say, lawsuits in state court.
The bankruptcy filing ends a nearly three-year partnership between Rock Hill and the Carolina Panthers that quickly soured in March.
The Panthers intended to build a state-of-the-art headquarters on a 240-acre property in Rock Hill. The facility, which began construction in the summer of 2020, was supposed to be the largest such facility in the NFL.
The project was also intended to be a sports and entertainment venue for events ranging from football games to high school athletic championships and corporate events and concerts, and would be an economic boost for the city and North Carolina. South.
But in March, GTRE halted construction on the property after the city failed to issue the bonds needed to fund construction. The city insisted yes.
The two parties never reached an agreement on how they could pay for the construction, and GTRE later sent the town of Rock Hill a letter terminating the agreement.